“How quaint the ways of Paradox…”

One of the most absorbing books my parents gave me at Christmas was a volume titled “English Through Pictures”. In it, they introduced vocabulary and grammatical concepts strictly through the use of illustrations accompanied by one or more English words.

For me the enchanting bits were the fifty pages or so of the Introduction — each page in a particular language giving instructions to whomever might be able to read it. There were the usual French, German, Spanish… but there were also Tamil, Telugu, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Croatian, Russian, Arabic, Amharic, Farsi, Shqip, Korean, Armenian…

I’m not sure what brought this to mind, but given the fact that I have trouble these days remembering whether I put my pants on forwards, the sudden appearance in my conscious mind of the phrase “Bahasa Inggeris dengan djalan melihat gambargambar” made me wonder whether there was a faint chance that this reflected something I had seen while studying that book.

Sure enough, Thanks Be To Online Translate, it turned out to be a faithful memory.

At the time I was struck by the use of noun doubling to designate plural, and with some searching I found that gambargambar, gambar-gambar and gambar2 all amounted to “pictures” in the various orthographies of that region.


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